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Minnesota National Guard
Departure Ceremony for Albert Lea Troops (video)

Published: 5/31 5:07 pm
Updated: 9:47 am

ALBERT LEA, MN - One day after we observe the holiday dedicated to our military veterans, area troops are now leaving for a mission overseas

They left this afternoon as part of the second largest deployment of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II

They're headed to Kuwait where they will aid in Operation New Dawn, which focuses on winding down US military operations in Iraq

Soldiers and their families honored the occasion with a departure ceremony this morning at the Albert Lea Armory

While the soldiers will no doubt face many challenges while overseas, the families they're leaving behind face challenges of their own

Jenn Eggersgluss's husband is leaving for his second deployment She said she's prepared to deal with her husband's absence, but she's worried about their two kids

"We have an 11 year old and then we have a 1 and 1/2 year old So the 11 year old is taking it hard but she's getting through it And the 1 and 1/2 year old, you know, he notices when daddy is gone," she said

 But having a strong support system makes things a little easier

"We have a big family, the community is just awesome, so I get help anywhere," said Jenn

Part of that support system is her husband's aunt, Reine McIntosh Like many family members, Reine has mixed feelings as her nephew gets ready to deploy

"It's pretty exciting, this is the first time I've ever been to one of these It's kind of emotional I'm sad to see him go but i hope he's safe," said McIntosh

She said that she'll be there for Jenn in any way that she can

"Anything we can do for her If it's just a phone call to show some support or Facebook or anything we can do to help her out, we'd be more than willing to do it," she said

Another source of support for military families comes from the local community Representative Rich Murray said that's a guarantee

"This is not empty words, this is the real deal We're from this community We're here for you We're here for the young people, the young ones We're here for the teenagers We're here for the young wives and young husbands," Murray said

Before they go overseas, the National Guard members will stop at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin for six weeks of training

Article source, with video

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"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

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